Symonds back, Ponting rested
Australia have included Andrew Symonds in their one-day squad to face Pakistan, while resting skipper Ricky Ponting.
Last Updated: 08/04/09 8:17am
Australia have included troubled all-rounder Andrew Symonds in their one-day squad to face Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, while resting skipper Ricky Ponting ahead of the Ashes summer.
Symonds returns to the full international fold after being included in a preliminary Twenty20 squad for the World Twenty20 tournament in England.
Injury-prone Queensland all-rounder Shane Watson is also back in the squad, along with paceman Brett Lee, as long as he passes a fitness test.
Skipper Ponting has been told to rest ahead of the Ashes, along with star bowler Mitchell Johnson and batsman Michael Hussey.
Michael Clarke was named as captain of the touring party, with wicketkeeper Brad Haddin replacing him as vice-captain, as Australia play in Dubai and Abu Dhabi for security reasons.
Chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said Australia was trying to manage the amount of cricket played by Ponting, Hussey and Johnson, with the World Twenty20 and the Ashes coming up.
"Having Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey in prime form mentally and physically for the Ashes is critical, and the series against Pakistan is the only opportunity to give them an appropriate break prior to the start of a very important period," Hilditch said.
"Mitchell Johnson is now a key bowler in all three forms of the game for Australia, and we've also taken this opportunity to provide him with a break before he commences preparation for the World Twenty20 and Ashes."
Hilditch said Symonds had a chance to now rebuild his career after being dropped and told to seek counselling after a series of alcohol-related incidents.
"At his best Andrew is a dynamic one-day player with an outstanding record for Australia," he said. "It will now be up to him to seize this opportunity."
Watson is in as a batsman rather than an all-rounder because a bad back will prevent him bowling, while Lee would only go if he is fully recovered from ankle and foot surgery.
"His return to bowling at full pace will be monitored carefully and will be reviewed closer to the date of the commencement of the tour," he said.
Fast bowler Peter Siddle did not make the squad but Hilditch said he could still play an important role in the Ashes.
The series starts on April 22 and includes five ODIs and one Twenty20 match.
Australia: Michael Clarke (captain), Brad Haddin (vice captain), Nathan Bracken, Callum Ferguson, Brett Geeves, Nathan Hauritz, Ben Hilfenhaus, James Hopes, David Hussey, Ben Laughlin, Brett Lee, Shaun Marsh, Andrew Symonds, Shane Watson.